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The Portuguese were able to reestablish trade relations by 1549 with annual trade missions sent to Shangchuan Island and acquired a land lease from Ming authorities in 1557 to establish a permanent trade outpost at Macau.
After the Qing conquest, Hong Kong was directly affected by the Great Clearance, an imperial decree that ordered the evacuation of coastal areas of Guangdong from 1661 to 1669 as part of the new dynasty's efforts against Ming loyalist rebels in southern China.
Archaeological evidence indicates an increase of population and expansion of salt production.
The Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb on the Kowloon Peninsula is believed to have been built as a burial site during the Han dynasty.
Wong Tei Tung and Three Fathoms Cove are the earliest sites of human habitation in Hong Kong during the Paleolithic Period.
It is believed that the Three Fathom Cove was a river-valley settlement and Wong Tei Tung was a lithic manufacturing site.
Lantau Island was a salt production centre and smuggler riots occasionally broke out against the government.
The first village school, Li Ying College, was established around 1075 in the modern-day New Territories by the Song dynasty.
Along with Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and several other major cities in Guangdong, Hong Kong forms a core part of the Pearl River Delta metropolitan region, one of the most populated areas in the world.Trade with Europeans was more strictly regulated and became concentrated in the Pearl River Delta after establishment of the Canton System in 1757, which forbade non-Russian ships from northern Chinese ports and forced all commerce to be conducted solely in the port of Canton, just north of Hong Kong.While European demand for Chinese commodities like tea, silk, and porcelain was high, Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was comparatively negligible, creating a large trade imbalance between Qing China and Great Britain.Over 16,000 inhabitants of Xin'an County, which included Hong Kong, were forced to migrate inland; only 1,648 of those who had evacuated returned in subsequent years.Though maritime trade had previously been banned, after repopulation of the coast and final defeat of all rebels with Ming sympathies, the Kangxi Emperor lifted the trade prohibition in 1684 and allowed foreigners to enter Chinese ports.